Currently in wedding culture, the cake/cupcakes/donut wall is usually on display and served to guests at the reception. However, traditionally, wedding cakes were made to bring good luck to all guests and the couple. Modern weddings now, however, they are more of a centerpiece to the wedding and are not always even served to the guests.
As far back as the Roman Empire, wedding cakes were created.. Here are my top 7 Wedding Cake Traditions
Cutting the Cake
In addition to the first dance and bouquet toss, this tradition is one of those photo opportunities that graces every wedding. The bride and the groom do this together symbolizing one of their first activities as Mr. and Mrs. As cakes have transformed into multi-tiered exquisite designs fit for hundreds of guests, usually they do not cut the entire cake up, but instead leave that duty to the caterer.
Feeding Each Other Cake
In a traditional cake cutting ceremony the bride and groom feed each other a small bite of cake. This can be romantic and sweet, symbolizing a commitment to provide for one another and a show of love and affection.
Especially with social media, this has evolved in some cases to the groom or bride grinding the cake into his or her partner’s face. Unless each person agrees beforehand to participate in this type of show, it is best to stick with a simple feeding. For my hubby and I – WE DID NOT SMASH THE CAKE!
The Groom’s Cake
Early American weddings had groom’s cakes and many southern states in the U.S. continue with this tradition. Many northern weddings have begun to adopt this tradition – it is used as a show piece for the GROOM! The primary focus of this cake is to showcase the groom’s hobbies, individual taste, and even his favorite sports teams.
Traditional grooms cakes, are usually chocolate to contrast the actual wedding cake, although any flavor is acceptable, especially now that wedding cakes are SO unique to the couples individual taste.
Saving the Top Tier
Most couples cannot resist saving the top tier to eat on their first anniversary or a christening ceremony. Now, most couples are more likely to create a small cake eating ceremony around their first anniversary. Sharing this small cake is a charming reminder of a special day.
A well-wrapped cake can easily survive a year in the deep freezer without too much damage, as long as the cake has no mousse layers or delicate fresh fruit fillings. A seasoned baker like Kristin Curtis of Desserts4Dequan can take care of this for you with a little insider information.
Sleeping With Piece of Cake Under the Pillow
It is thought that a person sleeping with a piece of wedding cake under her pillow would dream of her future partner that night. This custom dates back almost 300 years and is often practically combined with wedding favors being tiny, perfect replicas of the wedding cake.
Cakes in modern times are sometimes not as firm as the traditional fruitcake used in the past, so having it under a pillow could get messy! A favor in a box is a much neater solution – but I WOULD DEFINITELY EAT IT, and not sleep with it!
Wedding Cake Charms
The tradition of baking charms into wedding cakes is a longstanding one which has fallen away. It is an absolutely delightful tradition to try as long as you warn the guests to be careful and remove their charm before eating the cake!
A more practical variation is pushing the charms into a baked cake with a ribbon attached so the guest can simply pull the charm out.
There are several charms that are used traditionally and each has a specific meaning:
- Heart: true love
- Ring: upcoming engagement
- Wishing Well; wishes coming true
- Highchair: children
- Clover or Horseshoe: good luck
- Rocking Chair: long life
- Anchor: adventure
- Flower: new love
- Purse: good fortune
- Wedding bells: marriage
The White Wedding Cake
White icing was a symbol of purity, money and social importance in Victorian times, so a white cake was highly desired. The fine white sugar needed to create white icing was extremely expensive and the lighter the cake, the more wealthy the family would appear to their guests.
The white of the cake was simply a representation of the bride as the main focal point of the wedding. Many brides today mimic this continuity by creating cakes in the same hue as their dress or bouquet.
Wedding cakes can be any color, but most people still feel the base color beyond the decorations should be white. White is, of course, the color of purity and traditionally this cake was referred to as the “bride’s cake” – hence the grooms cake.